City Councilman David Oh is standing by his identification of the Philly man he said stabbed him in the stomach in May 2017, despite a jury acquitting that man of all charges last week.
Shawn Yarbray, 25, was acquitted of attempted murder and aggravated assault charges on Thursday, and on Monday, he and his father Karif Roberts Sr. went on WURD radio’s “Wake Up With WURD” program to discuss the case. Yarbray himself said on-air that he doesn’t blame Oh and called it “a case of mistaken identity.”
But their criticisms of the case, and references to a man in Florida who has claimed responsibility for the stabbing, prompted Oh to call in himself and discuss the case live on the air with the man he said stabbed him in the lung.
“I made an identification which I am sure of,” Oh said on WURD. “However, the criminal justice system has concluded there is not enough evidence to convict the person.”
Oh refused to recant his identification, as Roberts demanded he do on the air.
“Councilman Oh, I’m asking you: Please let my son live,” Roberts said during the morning show. “He did not do this to you.”
Oh was attacked in May 2017 while unloading his car outside his Cobbs Creek home one evening. The attacker allegedly approached, demanded Oh’s possessions then a moment later stabbed him, puncturing a lung and slashing his arm.
After seeing some 300 mugshots, Oh said he identified Yarbray as his attacker. But Roberts said his son, who surrendered to police, was incarcerated for some 10 months pretrial and claimed he was detained in solitary confinement for half that time. Roberts said he believes his son’s alibi that he was hanging out with friends that night.
“David Oh’s the victim. Yes, he was stabbed. We acknowledge that. But guess what? My son was a victim, too,” Roberts told Metro. “When Shawn tries to get a job somewhere, someone is going to say, ‘I don’t know, the councilman said you stabbed him.’ Even though he was found innocent, they might be inclined to believe him. Who knows how that hinders his life going forward?”
Oh dismissed criticisms that, as an Asian-American, he might not be able to accurately identify an African-American. He said the entire encounter lasted some eight minutes, and asserted that he got a clear look at the suspect as he talked him down, until he fled without taking anything.
Oh said on WURD that he called in to the show because the family was discussing how a defendant currently detained in Florida, Jarvis Meekins, allegedly claimed responsibility for the stabbing.
“I am fine with the decision and I would let it go, but you’re on the radio today raising issues about the fact that a person in Florida said, ‘I stabbed Councilman David Oh.’ He is not the guy at all,” Oh said, saying he viewed Meekins’ photo and did not recognize him.
While Oh is sticking to his position, he said he doesn’t want to carry the issue any further. “I don’t intend to bring it up if it doesn’t come up,” he said.
But Roberts said he want his son’s name cleared.
“We’re going to stop this victimizing right now. That’s all this is, just leave him alone,” he said.